Monday, September 29, 2008

Global ideas to cut organ wait list in Singapore

Sep 29, 2008

HEALTH Minister Khaw Boon Wan wants Singapore to follow Spain and Norway, two countries which boast very short wait lists for kidney transplants.

He is also looking at introducing the reimbursement scheme allowed in the United States and spelt out in the Declaration of Istanbul in May this year.

Spain has one of the highest cadaveric kidney transplants in the world, with no age restriction on donors. Both kidneys from older donors are given to one recipient, who is usually an elderly person too.

When a patient needs a transplant in Norway, the whole family turns up at the hospital to donate. This gives the patient a high chance of a good match.

In the US, poor donors can get up to US$6,000 (S$8,500) for travel, subsistence and related expenses. Some states allow tax deductions of up to US$10,000 for travel, lodging and lost income.

The Istanbul Declaration signed by over 150 government, medical and ethical representatives from 78 countries in May, lists what donors can ethically be reimbursed for.

They include disability, life and health insurance, dialysis should they suffer from organ failure in the future and priority access to transplant.

Reimbursing donors for the cost of surgery, lost income, travel and subsistence expenses and out-of-pocket spending such as for telephone calls, also does not constitute payment, it said.


No comments: